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Topic: If You Don’t Stand for Something, You Will Fall for Anything
When a community stands as one, more change can be made through quality discussion. May 18, 2018 my community was struck with one of the hardest battles anyone should have to face. A gunman walked in the school door and took the lives of 10 people I knew and loved, in one of the places you should feel the safest, just two weeks before graduation day. After the tragedy my school encountered the one thing we still had was our voice. Everything else was ripped from us from a boy with a gun. The discourse community I joined after the wake of mass murder was an organization called United Hearts, because after an event such as that, change is a must. Change is made through the discussion of where we went wrong and how we can prevent it from happening again, and so the discussion of prevention began.
The list of logos examples and facts about school shootings goes on and on, but the fact is Santa Fe High School was added to the list of many schools that were attacked by gun violence directly. I was added to the list of the many victims of gun violence. After 8 students and 2 teachers were killed in the very place I called home, it was time we made a change. More than 215,000 students have experienced gun violence. United Hearts wants to be the voice for all those who didn’t get to go home after school. We discussed topics ranging from the installation of metal detectors, the organizing of events to raise awareness for gun violence, the various events for gun violence victims to go to after an event to keep the mind occupied, and discussion for new laws in Texas with Governor Abbot to keep children safe in the very place they deserve to be. As we discussed the statistics we made sure that no matter what, Santa Fe High School would not be swept under the rug and forgotten like many others that came before us. One of the main concerns we had as an organization was the need for mental health awareness. School counselors were not enough anymore, we needed trained psychologists to see the beginning signs that school shooters show. More importantly we needed these physicians in schools already struck by gun violence to seek out students with newly founded depression, anxiety, PTSD, and the other mental strains an adolescent can obtain from being involved in such tragedy. There have been 16 fatal school shootings in the United States alone in 2018, that calls for civil discussion about change.
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As much as I would love to not have the credibility and ethos on this subject matter, I was a Santa Fe High School student and victim of gun violence directly. I have a voice for those who have been in my shoes and are going to be, I know what it is like to lose friends and loved ones. Living in a small town there were both sides, I knew the victims of a gun and I knew the victim of mental illness, the shooter. The whole nation stands behind you and supports you through this tragedy, but the you cannot help but feel alone. I understand that feeling. As the day’s drug on, the senior class of Santa Fe High decided to use our voices to contribute to United Hearts. When the discussion is used as a tool to compromise instead of a tool to cause conflict many things can be accomplished. United Hearts was founded in the wake of tragedy but flourished by the drive to overcome and succeed. The Santa Fe shooter wanted nothing more than to tear my community apart, but he lit a fire under us that not a soul could put out.
As for pathos, a school shooting is about as emotional as one can get, but as discussed previously 8 students and 2 teachers were murdered at Santa Fe High School on May 18, 2018. United Hearts was founded to speak for those 10 victims and the thousands of others across the nation. As we discussed the past, we focused on the change we wanted to make in the future. As sad as this event was, we had to take our loss and grow from it. Today at Santa Fe High School, there is metal detectors at every entrance, there is 2 psychiatrists trained to seek out the mentally ill and there are emotional support dogs that welcome those students back into the environment every single day. All this was done because I and few close friends formed a discourse community and decided to discuss the need for change with the school and state of Texas.
Some might say I was not a part of this discourse community, being victims of school shootings, because I did not get physically injured or lose my life that day. Damage done to the mentality of young adults and children is much worse than the physical damage brought on by guns. The people that claim people are only victims when injured or killed is entirely false. Victims include but is not limited to moms, dads, friends, and siblings. The loss of someone close to you, the sounds you hear, the things you see during a tragedy, and having to go on knowing they are not going on to is what affects the mentality the most. No, I was not physically hurt, but I am a victim and I do have a voice on this matter because surviving a school shooting and having to cope with something many don’t even begin to understand makes me just as much a victim as those who died.
When you stand for something as full-heartedly as I do about the change needed in our country towards gun violence on innocent children, then it easy to form an argument based on logic, experience, and have the ability to take an emotional stand. Through United Hearts we accepted all opinions and vowed to discuss, not argue. Our discussion led to the breakthroughs in security and safety at Santa Fe High School. Being part of a discourse community with such great goals was honestly the most important thing in my personal high school career. Being able to have a voice and stand for what you believe in is the main purpose of joining these discussion groups. No matter what you stand for, stand for it full-heartedly because if you don’t you are liable to fall for anything.